Posted on February 8, 2005

‘Anti-Racist’ Message in Mass. Math Class

Liza Porteus, Fox News, Feb. 8

In some public schools math teachers do more than teach algebra and geometry—they give their students lessons intended to purge what they consider racism.

The “anti-racist education” program in place at Newton Public Schools in Newton, Mass., a wealthy, liberal niche of the Bay State, has angered some parents who believe the school district is more concerned about political correctness than teaching math skills.

According to benchmarks for middle school education, the top objective for the district’s math teachers is to teach “respect for human differences.” The objective is for students to “live out the system-wide core value of ‘respect for human differences’ by demonstrating anti-racist/anti-bias behaviors.”

Priority No. 2 is where the basics come in, which is “problem solving and representation—students will build new mathematical knowledge as they use a variety of techniques to investigate and represent solutions to problems.”

The benchmarks, which could not be found on the district’s Web site, were faxed to by Tom Mountain, a columnist for The Newton Tab who has followed the district’s education system and, specifically, the rise of the “antiracist” education agenda there. His Jan. 12 column on the topic received so much attention, he said, his e-mail inbox was flooded with over 200 responses.

“I was surprised that this issue resonated so much with the general public,” Mountain said in an interview of what he called “PC nonsense” going on at Newton. “It would be silly and innocuous if it didn’t have an effect on the school’s standing, but it has.”